Fires lit to mark ‘arrival of spring’

Fires lit to mark ‘arrival of spring’

Fires lit to mark ‘arrival of spring’

Hundreds of thousands of people have marked Nevruz, a traditional festival that celebrates the arrival of spring, with colorful rituals in Eurasia and cities around Turkey.

On this auspicious day, some lighted fires and jumped over them three times to make wishes, while others visited the cemeteries of their ancestors to show love and respect.

Symbolizing the awakening of nature with spring after long and harsh winter months, Nevruz is sustained through its content in various regions from Central Asia to Anatolia.

In Turkey’s Iğdır, an eastern province located along the borders of Nakhchivan, Iran and Armenia, hundreds of people, including those from various Turkic countries, gathered to celebrate the day.

Singers from the Turkic world, such as East Turkestan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, created an unforgettable ambiance to make the experience worth remembering at an event held at a cultural center.

In the Mediterranean province of Antalya’s Döşemealtı district, Yörüks, a term used for Turkic nomads, also enjoyed the day with concerts and a series of celebrations consisting of folkloric rituals.

In some villages in the region, people also flocked to the cemeteries.

In major cities such as Istanbul and İzmir, thousands, who came together at the call of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), celebrated the day with Kurdish and Turkish music and had fun performing halay dances.

In the eastern provinces of Van and Erzurum, where Iranian tourists flock to especially on official holidays in their countries, small-scale festivals accompanied by Persian songs entertained visitors there.

The biggest Nevruz fire in the nearby region was probably lit in Karabakh, a newly-liberated Azerbaijani territory that had been occupied by Armenian forces for nearly 30 years.

Liting a magnificent Nevruz fire in the town of Sugovuşan in Terter province of Karabakh, Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev called out to the nation with a speech, congratulating people on the occasion of the festival.

In many cities in Iran, people also jumped over small bonfires with a belief of trying to purify against evil and misery and celebrated the beginning of the New Year according to the country’s official Solar Hijri calendar.

Similar festivities were held in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as well.

Nevruz is officially registered on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List, and the United Nations General Assembly has also declared March 21 as “International Nevruz Day.”

But, the festival can be celebrated for a week starting from March 19.